The Ultimate Spring 2016 NYC Arts Guide

Arts & Entertainment

by staff, 03/09/2016

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Exciting new exhibitions and programs are coming to New York City this spring. Among the highlights: punk pioneers the Ramones get honored in their home borough, the Met Breuer shakes up the Upper East Side and gardens throughout the five boroughs are in full bloom. To find out more about these and other NYC arts events, read on.               

Henry IV, Part I. Photo: Kwame Lestrade 

Brooklyn Academy of Music 
What's On: The Royal Shakespeare Company and director Gregory Doran have a six-week residency (March 24–May 1), performing Shakespeare's epic four-play cycle Richard IIHenry IV Parts I & II and Henry V.
Why Go Now: This is the only American stop on the Royal Shakespeare Company's international tour.
Also Consider: Les Fêtes Vénitiennes (April 14–17), a French opera-ballet, and DanceAfrica (May 27–30), the biggest African dance festival in the United States.

"Spring-Heeled Heels," at "Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History." Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg

The Jewish Museum 
What's On: Fashion takes center stage at the Jewish Museum's Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History. Opening March 18, the retrospective celebrates the Brooklyn-born designer's 30-plus years in the fashion industry and showcases his early apparel, his semi-couture looks and even his fast-fashion line for Target. The installation will also examine his forays into film, TV and other performing arts.
Why Go Now: An outpost of Russ & Daughters just opened in the museum. Besides the smoked salmon offerings that the original shop is famous for, the menu includes pretzel bagels, shakshouka (eggs poached in tomato sauce) with challah and noodle kugel.
Also Consider: The Television Project: Some of My Best Friends, which explores media portrayals of and responses to anti-Semitism, and Masterpieces & Curiosities: The Fictional Portrait, thought to be one of the first pictorial representations of Jewish people in America’s colonial period.

New York Philharmonic. Photo: Chris Lee 

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts 
What's On: The American Ballet Theatre's spring slate of productions includes high-profile fare like Swan Lake (June 13–18) and a world-premiere version of Serenade after Plato's Symposium by artist-in-residence Alexei Ratmansky (May 18–19 and 21). Not to be outdone, the New York City Ballet's roster includes "All Robbins" evenings—referring to famed choreographer Jerome Robbins—with performances of Dances at a Gathering and West Side Story Suite (May 11 and 13–15). Finally, the New York Philharmonic Biennial (May 23–June 11) will showcase work from classical music ensembles around the world.
Why Go Now: The New York Philharmonic Biennial is, by its nature, a relatively rare treat—it comes around for just a few weeks every two years.

The Met Breuer 
What's On: The Metropolitan Museum has taken over Marcel Breuer's 1960s building (former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art) to display new collections of 20th- and 21st-century modern and contemporary art. Look for an exhibition examining unfinished works of art from the Renaissance to the present; the largest exhibition to date dedicated to the Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi; and a performance installation by artist in residence Vijay Iyer.
Why Go Now: The Met Breuer opens mid-March and is sure to be a hot ticket. Be part of the excitement.

Museum of the Moving Image 
What's On: To the Moon and Beyond: Graphic Films and the Inception of 2001: A Space Odyssey (through August 14) traces the history of how To the Moon and Beyond—a movie Stanley Kubrick saw at the 1964 New York World's Fair—led to his collaboration with Graphic Films, the company behind it, on the science-fiction standard 2001: A Space Odyssey. Through concept sketches, letters and a draft of the script, visitors will get a closer look at how the influential film came together.
Why Go Now: This is the closest you're ever going to come to the early sketches and musings that brought Hal and company to the big screen.
Also Consider: Computer Films of the 1960s, showing concurrently, and the museum's expansive permanent exhibition, Behind the Screen.

Queens Museum 
What's On: The big news here is the exhibition Hey! Ho! Let's Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk (opening April 10), which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Ramones' 1976 self-titled debut album. The show chronicles the Queens-born band's rise via flyers, photos, concert footage, original lyric manuscripts, T-shirts…and, of course, their signature leather jackets.
Why Go Now: It's a great excuse to break out your leather jacket.
Also Consider: The Panorama of the City of New York—the museum's permanent, incredibly accurate scale model of the five boroughs, and Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix (opening April 10), which explores social, political and economic changes in NYC.

Studio Museum in Harlem 
What's On: Highlights of the spring season (March 24–June 26) include Palatable: Food and Contemporary Art, a group show centered on food's significance to political and culture issues; Ebony G. Patterson's …when they grow up…, which examines how race impacts childhood for people of color, and in some cases, exposes them to violence; and Rodney McMillian's Views of Main Street, an exhibition focused on those who've lost jobs and homes during the financial turmoil of the 21st century.
Why Go Now: All of these shows end on June 26—if you want to see them, now's the time.
Also Consider: Rashaad Newsome, Surface Area and the latest in the Harlem Postcards series, running at the same time as the three shows above.

“Phonkey” (2011) by Tom Sachs. Photo: Genevieve Hanson  

Tom Sachs
What’s On: This New York City–born artist has two shows this season. The Noguchi Museum, is the site of his Tea Ceremony (March 23–July 24), the museum's first single-artist exhibition by anyone other than Noguchi himself. It includes a teahouse within a garden and all the elements and accessories necessary for chanoyu, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. At the Brooklyn Museum, Sachs' traveling Boombox Retrospective exhibition (April 21–August 14) turns up the volume on street-music culture with 18 boombox sculptures.
Why Go Now: Because you can't live without your radio? Also, you can apply to be a guest in a tea ceremony.

Cherry blossoms. Photo: Jen Davis

What's On: There's no better place to welcome spring than at one of New York City's gardens. Of particular note: in the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden presents its annual Orchid Show through April 17; and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's annual Hanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing features scores of pink-flowered cherry trees throughout the month of April. The excitement peaks during Sakura Matsuri, (April 30–May 1), a festival filled with activities and performances that celebrate Japanese culture.
Why Go Now: You can only see spring flowers during the spring season. That's just science.
Also Consider: Wave Hill, which offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Palisades along with flowering shrubs, tulips and sparaxis; Queens Botanical Garden, whose annual Arbor Fest (April 24) makes caring about plants and nature fun for children; and Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, for its verdant gardens and historic buildings.

Bronx Zoo. Photo: Christopher Postlewaite 

Zoos and the Aquarium
What’s On: To get a workout while spotting animals, lace up your sneakers for the WCS Run for the Wild (April 30) at the Bronx Zoo. Or you can just visit your furry, scaly or feathery friends there anytime this spring, just as you can at the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Staten Island Zoo. For the pelagically hip, the New York Aquarium in Coney Island has sharks, rays, penguins and sea lions.
Why Go Now: The weather is warmer, but the spring crowds won't be quite as big as in summer.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    BAM - Brooklyn Academy of Music
    30 Lafayette Ave.
    Brooklyn – Downtown Brooklyn
    NY 11217
  2. 2
    Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
    1000 Richmond Terr.
    Staten Island – Randall Manor
    NY 10301
  3. 3
    Queens Museum
    New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11368
  1. 4
    Prospect Park Zoo
    450 Flatbush Ave.
    Brooklyn – Crown Heights
    NY 11225
  2. 5
    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    144 W. 125th St.
    Manhattan – Harlem
    NY 10027
  3. 6
    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  1. 7
    The Met Breuer
    945 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10021
  2. 8
    Brooklyn Botanic Garden
    1000 Washington Ave.
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11225
  3. 9
    New York Aquarium
    602 Surf Ave.
    Brooklyn – Coney Island
    NY 11224

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